Wasabi is difficult to cultivate and was not readily available in Austria for a long time. The plant needs two years to grow – a long period, during which a lot can go wrong. The root is actually native to Japan, but since 2017 it has also been growing in Austria, under strictly controlled conditions in one of the most high-tech indoor farms in the world.
Wasabi from Burgenland © PhytonIQ
A farm on eight floors
The PhytonIQ laboratory is located in Oberwart in the Burgenland. Special vegetables grow on eight floors and a total of 2,300 square metres of production space: “Wasabi is very challenging, but we love it,” Eszter Simon, co-founder and head of the company, told Tech & Nature.
10,000 wasabi are currently being grown in Burgenland, with saffron now also being added, but the founders are not really interested in niche products. “Our dream is to produce healthy food all over the world and to give people the opportunity to produce plants themselves – regardless of location and climate,” says Simon.